The #ProjectScouted judges will enter into the judging process from Phase Three onwards. The panel will consist of three exceptional people in their fields who will be judging the #ProjectScouted ladies based solely on their images; meaning that there could be no possibility of bias or subjectivity in their decisions. Our first judge to be revealed, Mary Lu, a fashion blogger at LoveMary Lu and a lawyer living in Johannesburg, has a pretty good idea of what composes a good image. Shooting on almost a daily basis for her blog, this stunning girl will be able to aptly judge whether the girls understand how they should portray themselves on camera based on the themes of the shoots and the way they have been styled.
1. What inspired you to choose law as your career?
My dad always told me that I would make a great lawyer ever since I was in primary school but it wasn’t until I actually took Law courses at the University of Cape Town that I really got hooked onto Law. I actually studied both Psychology and Law so I was stuck in the middle when it came to choosing a post grad. But right up until my graduation, my end goal was to be an advocate. I just love how certain but also uncertain law can be, it makes work-life a little less mediocre.
2. And how did your fashion blogging come about?
Actually, I started off as a beauty blogger because for as long as I can remember, I’ve always been obsessed with beauty products! I slowly incorporated fashion posts and pictures on my blog because I received a great response from my readers and, of course, I’ve always had an interest in beautiful outfits and clothing.
3. Although these are very different fields, they are both extremely demanding. How do you balance your blogging and your work as a lawyer?
Haha! Sometimes I think I don’t! It was almost impossible at first especially working in a big corporate law firm! But thank goodness for weekends and the help and support of my amazing man (his real job isn’t even photography!).
4. With the rise of fashion blogging, how do you make sure you stand out? What makes your brand different?
I must admit when I first started in 2011, there weren’t many South African bloggers at the time but now the industry has really grown and I’m really happy about it. It just shows that normal folks like us really have a say now and people out there are willing to listen, which is great! In order to “stand out” as a blogger, I think it’s really important to know yourself well and know who your target market is. I wouldn’t want to dress like someone other than myself but at the same time I wouldn’t post content that won’t interest my readers, that’s why it’s important to know your target market well. Honestly, I don’t think what I do and what other bloggers do is very different; the goal is the same. All bloggers enjoy blogging and want our readers to enjoy our content. But the difference lies in how we do it; how we promote a brand we like, how we dress the same pants or the same dress, how we spend our weekends, and how we tell our readers about it.
5. You grew up in Durban, studied in Cape Town, and now live in Johannesburg. What motivated these moves? What's the difference between all these cities?
Hmmm, I didn’t have a choice about living in Durban since my parents decided that one. But Durban is home home for me (that’s not a typo; there are two “homes” for me!). I moved to Cape Town because the University of Cape Town is a world-renowned university and one of the best law schools on the continent. And now I am in Johannesburg because I feel it’s a natural occurrence, a lot of people move to the big city after graduation because that’s where all the work is. I think Jo’burg is a great place to kick-start your career.
6. You definitely are a globe-trotter. Where is the one place you would encourage people to visit?
Oh my gosh, this is such a difficult question for me to answer! My gut says that everyone should visit New York City at least once in their lives. It’s the one place where judgement is put aside and it opens your mind and your eyes a lot! If you think you’ve seen it all but haven’t been to NYC, then you really haven’t seen anything! And the fact that the man of my dreams proposed in Central Park is just an added plus as to why I love NYC!
7. How did you hear about #ProjectScouted and what do you think about the Project?
How can anyone NOT hear about #ProjectScouted?! It’s everywhere! I think it’s an absolutely fabulous idea! The fact that it is open to the public (girls only, obviously!) and gives everyone a chance at the modelling game is awesome! It really puts the modelling industry to shame, with their requirements of stick-thin models and minimal height restrictions. I think photography is an art and art at its most modern and dynamic form so this Project is great to showcase that art and talent at the same time.
8. What motivated you to agree to be one of the judges for the Project?
As a blogger myself and having to pose in front of the camera day in and day out, I draw inspiration from magazines, editorials and other bloggers. And I can honestly say I’ve become very interested in photography myself! I often find myself ooh-ing and aah-ing at beautiful images so this opportunity to be a judge is an absolute honour.
9. Will there be any criteria you will be basing your judging on?
I think individuality is a big one for me; knowing and embracing what you have and playing that up. I think the beautiful thing about photography is that emotion can be captured so well so being able to show emotion in a photograph is also key to a beautiful image.
As you can tell, Mary Lu is one hell of a girl and the #ProjectScouted ladies could not have asked for a more perceptive and apposite judge. Knowledgeable about the industry, appreciative of different types of beauty, and passionate about helping boost others’ careers; Mary Lu will definitely not be making any faux pas during the judging. Make sure to check out Mary’s blog, Love Mary Lu, at http://lovemarylu.com/, and follow her on Instagram @lovemarylu to see precisely why she is “not your average fashion-loving and globetrotting lawyer”.